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If you're an Ottawa, Montreal or Kingston-based UX professional, or are involved in any related disciplines, you probably know that in a little less than a couple of months, on October 13-14, 2012, the third annual edition of UXcamp Ottawa (Twitter: @uxcampottawa) is coming to the Ottawa Little Theatre and Ottawa U's Lamoureux Hall.
Unlike last year when the event was a multiple track, single day of pre-planned conference sessions and unconference-style participant-driven conversations, we've moved to a single track, two days format, to allow everyone to see every speaker. UXcamp Ottawa III features a spectacular lineup of world-class speakers on Saturday, and a full-day Design Jam on Sunday. If you're interested to see the full schedule, read about the speakers, get in touch with the organizers (disclosure: I am co-chairing the event) head on over to our new home at http://uxcampottawa.org. Registration is now open, and for the third year in a row, we hope it's sellout once again. And if you're still not conviced, and you need hard-hitting (:O), totally subjective reasons why I believe UXcamp Ottawa III is a must-see event for Canadian UX professionals, you're in luck: the following is my roundup of the top 10.
If you live in Ottawa and you're on Twitter you probably know that in a couple of weeks from now, on November 5th to be precise, the second edition of UXcamp Ottawa will take place at Ottawa U's Lamoureux Auditorium.(Twitter: @uxcampottawa)
Similar to last year, the conference will contain pre-planned sessions (ranging from 10 minute Ignite-style talks to hour long presentations) as well as unconference-style participant-driven conversations in the afternoon. If you're interested to see the full schedule, read about the speakers, look at photos or watch video highlights of last year's sessions head out to ottawa.uxcamp.ca and get all details there. Registration is also now open, and for the second year in a row, we're heading towards a sellout. But if you're still not conviced, and you need hard-hitting (:O) reasons why I think UXcamp Ottawa 2011 is a must-see event for UX professionals and designers, you're in luck: here's the roundup of my top 10:
As some of you may be aware (my obsessive tweeting on this very subject during the two weeks leading to the event attests to this) the Ottawa UX community at-large is about to have an official gathering on Nov 27, 2010. Titled UXcamp Ottawa, the event is a one-day professional conference organized by a few volunteers that will combine both planned and unplanned (unconference-type) sessions.
In the spirit of the ever-popular barcamp model, the goal of the event is to bring people who are interested in creating better user experiences together, in an environment conducive to learning, sharing, open conversation and community building. The topics of discussion will include the usual suspects: user experience, user research, usability, information architecture, interaction design, service design, etc. But what you may not know is that UXcamp Ottawa follows in the footsteps of a few similar events worldwide (Washington, Berlin, London, Florence, Prague, Kiev, Seoul) and is also preceeded by three other Canadian dates.
This particular blog post has been on my mind for a while now. Nowadays, a popular topic of conversation in the UX world encourages UX leaders everywhere to become more involved in business leadership and business strategy, as opposed to staying in their traditional sphere of influence related to UX strategy. There have also been a number of discussions/comments on a variety of UX blogs lately, about whether the term 'User' in our discipline name is accurate enough, or whether it should be replaced with a different term, such as 'customer' (as in 'customer experience' as opposed to 'user experience'). Others are proposing for the word 'User' to be dropped altogether, so 'user experience design' would end up known simply as 'experience design'.
In my opinion, the fact that these discussions are taking place around the same time speaks volumes about the lack of maturity in many of our practitioners' strategic thinking. Don't get me wrong, I think User Experience as a profession has come a long way in the last 10 years or so in terms of methods, process and industry standardization. We have successfully aligned or integrated our process within various software development methodologies, and we have even been promoted to participate in discussions at the big boys table with the business, technology and marketing folks. There are no doubt a few UX professionals acting or in line to act as CEOs, CXOs, CIOs or CTOs, who, through practice and years of experience, have aquired that business acumen needed to become a true leader in the boardroom. But before we even begin talking about user experience professionals setting the tone and creating the overarching strategy for all those non-UX areas, I would venture a guess that there is still a lot we need to learn about what constitutes a successful business, the parameters within which it operates, and last but not least, its terminology. This guerilla movement within the UX community who are trying to replace 'user experience' with 'customer experience' are obviously not aware that the term 'customer experience' has already been coined and it is used frequently in the corporate world to describe a completely differently business concept.
The term 'intrapreneur' is not a novelty in the business world. It's been around for 25 years and is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as "a person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk taking and innovation". The idea is gaining a lot of traction these days in the corporate world, with companies like Google and 3M allowing their employees to spend up to 20% of their time incubating their own side ideas. In government however, spending time on rethinking a process or product while working around bureaucracy is a notion that is typically frowned upon.
Governmental bureaucratic structures typically enforce compliance with rules and procedures and can kill new ideas because innovation often requires challenging the status quo or questioning long-held assumptions that may have worked well in the past. Furthermore, cultivating innovation is an evolutionary process and cannot be done overnight. Trial and error, experimentation without taking on undue risk, and adaptation to change should be concepts in the arsenal of every PS employee especially given the government's newly adopted PS renewal mantra. In this day and age, intrapreneurship seems to be the only cost-effective way governments can quickly replicate successful internal and external innovations, by adapting them to local contexts instead of always trying to reinvent the wheel.
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